France Fines Google $593 Million in Fight Over News Content

Google was fined $593 million by French antitrust authorities on Tuesday for failing to barter a deal in “good faith” with publishers to hold information on its platform, a victory for media firms which were preventing to make up for a drop in promoting income that they attribute to the Silicon Valley big.

French officers mentioned Google ignored a 2020 order from French regulators to barter a licensing cope with publishers to make use of quick blurbs from articles in search outcomes. The case has been intently watched as a result of it represents one of many first makes an attempt to use a brand new copyright directive adopted by the European Union supposed to power web platforms like Google and Facebook to compensate information organizations for his or her content material.

“When the authority imposes injunctions on companies, they are required to apply them scrupulously, respecting their letter and their spirit,” Isabelle de Silva, president of the French antitrust physique, mentioned in an announcement.

Google has two months to provide you with contemporary concepts for compensating information publishers or dangers additional fines of as much as 900,000 euros, about $1.065 million, per day, the French authorities mentioned.

The French resolution is the most recent flash level in a battle between information publishers and web platforms over using information content material. In Europe and elsewhere, policymakers have more and more sided with publishers who argue web firms are benefiting from the unfair use of their content material. Companies like Google and Facebook have argued they’re driving visitors to the information web sites.

Internet firms fought a copyright legislation handed earlier this yr in Australia that gave publishers extra negotiating leverage. It led to a showdown in which Facebook briefly eliminated information from its platform for customers contained in the nation, earlier than shortly relenting.

As policymakers crack down, Google has been attempting to strike offers with particular person publishers. In October, the corporate mentioned it might spend greater than $1 billion to license content material from worldwide information organizations. And in February, it introduced a three-year cope with News Corp., proprietor of The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal and different distinguished information shops.

Google, which might enchantment the nice, mentioned it was “very disappointed” with the French resolution and that it was persevering with to barter with publishers. “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process,” Google mentioned in an announcement. “The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”

The French authorities mentioned Google positioned unfair restrictions on its negotiations with publishers, together with requiring them to take part in the corporate’s new licensing program, News Showcase. Google had reached a cope with some distinguished French information shops — together with Le Monde, L’Obs and Le Figaro — however others raised considerations in regards to the course of.

Google mentioned it was finalizing a world licensing cope with Agence France-Presse, one in every of France’s largest media organizations.